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Why Do I Make Kits?

Danska: Shadow Master


It might be something of a mystery to people why I sit around making small, pixelised representations of bionicle sets. On the other hand it might not, I don't know. Nevertheless, for anyone who is curious, here's an explanation of a length that will only be determined once it is written.


Perhaps I should start with how I got involved in kits. Some of you may have heard of the Mata-Nuian Builder. This was an emalgamation of various popular kits, drawing heavily from one in particular - the RZ Mega Kit. RZ (Rahi Zaku) was a genius with pixels, and is to my knowledge where the style originated. I can't remember why I started using the MNB or how I found it, but find it I did and once I started writing stories, many uses for it became apparant.


See, the style isn't designed for making comics or games or any of the uses to which kits are commonly put these days. They are builders - designed to let you snap the pieces together digitally and create whatever your imagination can conjure up. This is particularly useful if you have an idea for a Toa who is coloured A and B, but the pieces you want only come in colours X and Y (I don't know why those four letters are always used for examples, but why break with tradition?). For a writer, this can be invaluable. I personally designed whole hosts of characters with the kit for epics and the like, not to mention many outside of stories simply out of personal interest.


It was quite interesting, seeing the creativety that could be spawned from this. Eventually I started experimenting. Combining masks, editing tools; nothing major. This is where it started, I guess. Still, the idea of creating anything of the sort myself was...harrowing at best.


When I came across the MNB I do not know, but one event always sticks in my memory: the release of the MNB 2004. Both RZ and Swert released their own 2004 kits, each with their own merits. I personally opted to use the MNB version, as it came with angled arms (the RZ ones were straight) and by then I was used to the background colour (it was a greenish-blue, darker than the one I use). As a downside, I don't recall Lhikan's mask ever being released in the MNB but I could be wrong. :P


Anyway, yeah. Skipping over the nostalgia, let's get back to the point. I held these kit creators in very high regard, wondering how they ever managed to create such brilliant representations of the sets. It was possibly in 2004 I started creating a few things for myself - mostly masks, actually. I made an entire set of masks which were ok, I guess, and continued playing around with the odd tool.


More epics meant more characters, and I was becoming steadily used to the ins and outs of the kits. Once you learn a bit how the style works, things start to fall into place more easily. I had a lot of practise using the kit, and was experimenting more and more.


2005 was quite a big year for me, in terms of kit development. Why? Because I made my first kit. Or was it 2006? Whatever it was, it was related to 2005.


Ok ok, I'll get to the point.


There was to be no MNB 2005. A great shame, I must admit, but in a way that helped me because I decided to make it myself. I don't think I did too bad a job in some respects. Infact, a lot of the DBB 05 dates back to that point, albeit with a few minor alterations. The heads, tools and arms are mostly from then.


As you can see, I was becoming further and further engrossed in the pixel world. It threatened to swallow me up like a great...pixelly...thing...and quite why I said that I do not know. Suffice to say I did say it. ANYWAY, I never released that kit as many parts were not my own and I felt little inclination to do so anyway. And do I use the word anyway too much?


Anyway (yes I do), my confidence was growing. Perhaps my biggest breakthrough came when I attempted to create Sidorak and Keetongu. I succeeded, as it happens, but learnt then and there that what I was trying to do was no longer the same. I was starting to develop my own conventions and ideas and noticed that the scale of some pieces simply wasn't right for what I was doing. Yes, I was a pedant even then.


The first thing I did that could really count as part of the DBB was to create my own Metru body. The ones in the MNB and RZ Mega Kit were created very, very quickly as the sets were just coming out (maybe before) so weren't as accurate as they might otherwise have been. A bad thing? Not really. They served their purpose, were recognisable and as I said, were released very quickly. I was certainly impressed, but when trying to create the Toa Hagah and realising that the Bohrok plate and the body didn't quite mesh, I went about making my own.


Ok, last bit of history now! I started what eventually turned into the DBB in 2006 with, surprisingly, 2006 sets. Did you know that 2006 was infact the first kit I made? Or that I first made the Inika before they even appeared in stores? It does seem strange. Well, I think I was still recycling a few old pieces so I decided to go back to the start, 2001, and make everything myself. Completely from scratch. The results of this are fairly obvious.


Ok, this is starting to degenerate into boring ramblings, and I still haven't really explained why I make kits, have I? Just how I got into it. Does that count as why? Maybe.


So! Why do I make kits? I guess the only reason is that I enjoy it. The satisfaction I get from seeing a completed project is great, and it can provide an interesting challenge that I do manage to enjoy. It's always fun to see the latest set finished, particularly so when a large project like a Titan comes to fruition. There's always more I can think of to do, so I don't get bored or complacent with it easily.


I'm particularly pleased I've come as far as I have. I honestly didn't think I'd be able to sustain it this long, and suspected it might fizzle out a little way in. I'm very glad I was wrong.


Well, that's over! Tune in next time for something shorter and more interesting!




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